Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In 2 months I'll be on the trail

Closing loose ends and investing full time in the projected venture, leaves little time for blog writting … yet sharing with you which implies keeping a certain distance on events, it is essential.

For Xmas my son offerd me a helmet since I'm always knocking my head. 
Beach view at home.

Friends are successively revealing themselves. Those who are attached to materialism, the need for a community and to « possess », are in various stages of rejection towards me as they feel the loss of my departure and my choice of life for this venture puts them in a situation where they are forced to question their own lives. However, those who have detached themselves from the materialistic realities of life, are able to abstract and make life choices based on values of their own/ These are all supporting my choices and understand this projected journey. Interesting, since I believe that this reflects a real difference between maturity and dependence … I'm sure we'll further explore this theme later.

Meanwhile I've been back to the Anerie, training farm where I spent 15 days going on outings with animals, saddling or packsaddlling animals, walking trails and roads, and generally getting comfortable with the life style I plan to adopt for the next few years. Donkeys need constant reassurance about the purpose, security and good sense of what you ask of them. They know when you are unsure and requesting something that yourself are not sure of. Once scarred of something it is very difficult to get them to change their mind. I was walking through a tunnel with ice at the entrance and 3 times this posed no problem, however the 4th time, one of the hooves slipped and I had to figure out another path or wait out the thaw … this promesses quite a bit of artfull negotiations on my journey.
The fundamental lesson is NEVER get upset. It's counterproductive and after all, you are the boss so it's up to you to make things acceptable. What a lesson for relationships !

Flying out the 22nd of February, I'll be in New York 3 days with Yamuna (see ) both to share time with my « sister » an exceptional woman and see a few stores which might have the equipment I need at a good price. Flexible 25watts solar pannels for autonomous energy, binoculars with zoom function to see wildlife and identify where I am, a GPS device and a communications by sattelite solution. In specialized stores I keep meeting people who have good technical knowledge, sometimes real life experience and yet it seems the basics I'm looking for are neither requested nor easily available. The solar panel and binocular solutions available have however now become affordable compared to 2 years ago where they were 2 to 3 times more expensive. How fast our world evolves always amazes me.

But the real difficulty is identifying where I can adopt or buy the donkeys I need. The Bureau of Land Management has an adoption program but a guy going on a trail is not an option on the application form. So I need to convince them that I'll take good care of the animals and that I'll find them a good home once in Chile. Every person in the Donkey Rescue business has been assuming that I'll leave the donkeys with a horrible Chilean farmer that will mistreat the animals. Is it because donkeys are used as farm animals in south America ? Is it a prejudice ? Is it because the whole idea of the journey seems too far from their own reality ? I'm amazed that people would think that after 3 years of living daily with animals I could possibly be leaving them in a poor situation. My concern with adoption is that these are generally wild animals requirering much adaptation. However various experts seem to think that if the animals have been in a controlled environment for a few weeks and I work with them a few days, that they will very quickly adapt and adopt me. Of course I'll have to be careful the first month. Meanwhile I'm looking at various solutions all around the region where I plan to start.

I have packed my gear and clothes and find that I'll be within the 23 kg weight limit of Airlines. This should allow me to fly to NYC and then Phoenix the 25th of february and arrive without paying extra fares. I was furious when the Icelandic flight I reserved through Edreams was confirmed as a reservation and then Edreams 2 weeks later informed me that the price had gone up 150 Euros and wanted me to confirm my booking. So I canceled but was only able to find a flight at $100 more since it was 15 days later (initially I had 2 options at $10 apart!) I hope bad publicity will insure the failure of such practices, dont hesitate to share this information (I can send proof!).

I'm working on detailed trail planning but only for the Pacific Crest Trail. I figure I'll have ample time to plan the Oregon Historical Trail which looks like it has quite a bit of asphalt. And it's still possible I could do the northern trail at the border of Canada should I be able to walk faster. I keep beeing told the wilderness in that area is stupendous.

Amazing how many details have to be dealt with as you leave a life style and prepare for another. With friends wanting to visit up to the last minute and days being filled with small tasks (ex cleaning up files on storage systems, updating the computers at home, storing all items that you'll not use for a few years, going through clothing and either giving away what you'll not use, storing what could be useful upon returning, and deciding what to pack …)

Below are a few pictures of my home as I rehabilitated it. I really like the chimney, the bathroom and the general look of things. Nice to be proud of what you have accomplished. I leave my wife in a really comfortable home.

new upstairs bathroom
Hall closet

North room upstairs

North room upstairs

Closet south room
Upstairs south room & closet

Upstairs south roo
Wooden stairs
Red room
Yellow room downstairs

Living with Chimney (my creation)

Entrance hall

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